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Monday Roundup: World Cup qualifying reportedly back in the United States

Also in today’s roundup, the Spirit and Courage announce preseason match-up, Nick Cushing is out of the running for Lionesses job, and Meghan Cameron achieves MLS first. 

The CONCACAF Women’s Championship is heading back to the states says Steven Goff (USA Today Images)

Steven Goff of The Washington Post has reported that CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying will take place in the United States for the second consecutive cycle. Per the report, venues have not been finalized. The FIFA calendar lists October 4-17 as the dates for CONCACAF qualifying. The eight-team tournament, formally known as  will send three teams to the 2019 World Cup in France and a fourth to a continental playoff against a South American side.

In 2014, despite some early offensive struggles, the United States rolled through group play and then pummeled Mexico to qualify before defeating Costa Rica in the final to win the tournament. Four years before that in Mexico, the U.S. was handed perhaps their most shocking defeat ever, to Mexico. That forced them to beat Costa Rica for the right to face Italy in a two-leg playoff for a berth in the World Cup. The USWNT won it 2-0 on aggregate.

This year’s path figures to be a good bit more difficult than four years ago because Canada will rejoin the tournament after sitting out in 2014 as World Cup hosts. The host bid has been transferred to 2019 hosts France meaning CONCACAF has one less spot in 2019 than in 2015. The USWNT and Canada will be overwhelming favorites to be two of the qualifiers out of the region.

The United States, Canada, and Mexico are already in the qualifying tournament. Five zonal qualifiers will join them.

Spirit, Courage to play preseason match March 17

The North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit will face off during the 2018 preseason. (photo by Lewis Gettier)

The Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage have announced a preseason match for March 17 in Richmond, Virginia. The match will be part of Jefferson Cup Girls Weekend hosted by the Richmond Strikers. Tickets will go on sale this Friday at richmondkickers.com.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to bring the NWSL to Richmond and the historic City Stadium,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said. “We look forward to hosting such a quality side in the Courage and sure all that attend will be treated to an entertaining match.”

Cushing signs new Man City contract, ending England consideration

Manchester City Women announced on Saturday that manager Nick Cushing had signed a new three-and-a-half year contract with the FA WSL club, effectively keeping him with the club until the end of its 2020/2021 season.

The new contract also removes Cushing from running for the England head coaching position, for which he had previously been considered as a replacement for former coach Mark Sampson. He now joins the ranks of Emma Hayes and Laura Harvey as prospective Lioness coaches who have opted to remain at the club level instead of climbing to the international ranks.

“I’m really, really happy to have signed,” he said in the team’s official announcement. “My future is here, and we can carry on trying to be successful and continue the great work that we’ve shown over the past four years to try and remain the dominant domestic team and keep pushing on in Europe.”

Cushing took over at the helm of Man City ahead of its maiden 2014 FA WSL season. Since then, the team has won its first league title (2016), a second Continental Cup win (2016) and FA Cup win (2017). Under his tutelage, the team also competed in its first ever Champions League, advancing to the semifinals before being eliminated by eventual winners Olympique Lyonnais.

Meghan Cameron added to Sporting KC technical staff, first women hired to such a role across MLS

On Friday, Sporting Kansas City announced the hiring of former MLS league office employee Meghan Cameron to the team’s technical staff as the club’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel. Cameron assumes this role as the first woman hired to an MLS team’s technical staff across the league.

Cameron, despite taking on a role with a new entity, is no stranger to this type of work. She joined the Player Relations and Competition Department first in 2010 at the MLS league office in New York City, most recently in the role of Senior Manager, Player Relations. Her new position at Sporting KC will allow her to work directly with Sporting KC Director of Player Personnel Brian Bliss in roster and budget management. She will also be involved in scouting and player development with the first team, the Swope Park Rangers and the Sporting KC Academy. Cameron was atop of the list of candidates according to Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes. “As we were looking for candidates to become our Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Meghan was at the top of the list because we have had great experiences working with her for the last several years in MLS,” said Vermes in a statement. “She has a rich soccer background and excellent knowledge of the rules around player contracts, salary cap intricacies and player acquisition mechanisms within the League. Meghan’s skillset makes her a perfect addition to the club, and we look forward to her excelling in this capacity.”

Kansas City and it’s club, Sporting KC, were a big draw for Cameron as it’s historically had shown strong on-field performances backed by a dedicated fan base. “In working at the League Office, Kansas City has always struck me as a great city with terrific supporters and a tremendous MLS organization,” Cameron said. “I feel my knowledge of the League’s contracts and rules allows me to bring a unique and long-term perspective of rosters and budgets. I am excited to work with Peter and the rest of the technical staff to continue to grow the success of Sporting KC.”

Prior to her time at the MLS league office, Cameron was a member of the D.C. United sales team from 2005 through 2008. The New Jersey native played collegiate soccer at Rutgers University where she helped the Scarlet Knights reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2002.

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